HC Deb 11 March 1958 vol 584 cc238-99

3.37 p.m.

The Chairman

The Amendment in page 1, line 15, after "substituted" to insert: subject to the provisions of subsection (6) of this section standing in the name of the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Blenkinsop), and that to which it is a paver, in page 2, line 12, at the end to insert: (6) Regulations may provide that in discharge of any increased liability of a person under this section there shall be credited to that person, in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, the amount of any payments made by that person during the fifty-two contribution weeks immediately preceding the occurrence of the liability being payments made in respect of charges under section one of the National Health Service Act. 1951, or under sections one or two of the National Health Service Act, 1952 are both out of order, as this clause deals only with contributions.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

On a point of order, Sir Charles. May I ask for your protection and assistance? The Government have decided that those of us who are members of Standing Committee A, which is considering the Slaughterhouses Bill, will meet at 4 o'clock this afternoon. It so happens that another Standing Committee is also to meet at that hour. As a consequence, 90 hon. Members will be detained in those Standing Committees. It also happens that, because of the nature of the Bills being discussed in Standing Committee, those hon. Members who are concerned with those Bills are also particularly concerned with the Bill now before this Committee. Is there any way in which you can safeguard the rights of the House as a whole and ensure that those of us particularly interested in this Bill can attend here to join in the debate on it?

The Chairman

There is nothing that I can do about that. Those hon. Members will be allowed to come here and vote in a Division—I have no doubt that the Chairmen of those Standing Committees will then adjourn the Committees—but I have nothing further to say.

Mr. A. Blenkinsop (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)

Further to that point of order, Sir Charles. While appreciating your difficulty in ruling on such a matter, surely we could have an expression of opinion that it is an affront to this Committee that such an exceptional number of hon. Members should be prevented from taking part in either one or other of their duties to the House. May I ask whether, to avoid a Division taking place in Standing Committee as well as in this Chamber, we can ensure that there is some staggering of any such Divisions? It is physically impossible for an hon. Member who wishes to take part in a Division in Standing Committee also to take part in a Division of this Committee, should they run concurrently. Can you say that special time will be granted for Divisions on the Floor of this Chamber in order to give full opportunity of voting to hon. Members in Standing Committee.

The Chairman

That is quite beyond me, I am sorry to say.

The next Amendment is that standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), in page 1, line 25. I think it might be for the convenience of the Committee if his Amendments in page 2, line 2, to leave out "they apply "and insert "it applies"; in line 8, to leave out "Northern Ireland and"; and in line 17, to leave out from "Act" to the end of line were taken together.

Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 25, to leave out from "Crown" to "shall" in line 1, page 2.

I agree that this Amendment, Sir Charles, and those that you have indicated, go together. Their effect, if carried, would be to remove from the Bill the references to Northern Ireland. The question that I want to put to the Government and to the Committee is simply whether it is necessary, whether it is desirable, to apply the onerous provisions of the Bill to the most distressed area in the United Kingdom? We ought to examine what would be the effect upon the Northern Ireland economy if the additional charge that is now proposed were to be laid upon the progress of that region.

The Government, in bringing the Bill before the House, justified it on the grounds that the cost of the National Health Service had risen, and must, in equity, be met by laying some of the additional cost on contributors to National Insurance as distinct from taxpayers. The same argument was used when the Act of 1957 was before the House last year. I want to know, and I hope that the Government are prepared to tell us, what happened in 1957. The Act of 1957, by Section 5, provides that … no limitation or restriction imposed by virtue of any enactment on the powers of the Parliament of Northern Ireland shall preclude that Parliament from passing legislation for purposes similar to the purposes of any of the provisions of this Act. In other words, all the 1957 Act did was to permit the Parliament of Northern Ireland, if it thought fit, to raise part of the cost of their Health Service from contributors to National Insurance.

What happened? I do not profess to know, and I should like to know. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Minister of Health will be in a position to tell the Committee what happened when that Act was passed. Did the Northern Ireland Government avail themselves of these provisions? Did they levy a charge upon contributors to National Insurance in Northern Ireland? If so, why? What was the increase in the cost of the Health Service in Northern Ireland, and how did it compare with the increase in cost of the Health Service in England, Wales and Scotland? Were the increases much the same or greater or smaller? Where the additional charges, if any, imposed on contributors to National Insurance in Northern Ireland proportional to the increases? In short, what did they do about it in every respect?

Next, we want to know whether the costs have gone up since. What has been happening with regard to the National Health Service in Northern Ireland? Are its costs increasing in the same sort of measure as they are here? Have the Northern Ireland Government been able to find a method of economy which makes the rise less? Are they content with a less efficient or satisfactory Service than pleases the people of England, Scotland and Wales? We are entitled, on this Clause, to know what is the situation in Northern Ireland in respect of the treatment of the sick under the three parts of the Health Service.

What is Northern Ireland likely to do now? Have the Northern Ireland Government approached the United Kingdom Government and asked for power to increase what they may have levied upon National Insurance contributors by virtue of the 1957 Act? Are the United Kingdom Government—I hope that they are not—exerting any pressure on the Government of Northern Ireland to do it in this way rather than the other way? What approaches have been made by Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to the Northern Ireland Government?

This Measure, if adopted by Northern Ireland, would have an effect even more injurious there than in England and Wales. Northern Ireland has only one thirty-seventh of the population of the United Kingdom, but it has nearly one tenth of the unemployment in the United Kingdom. Last month, more than 10 per cent. of the workers in Northern Ireland were unemployed. More than 11 per cent. of the registered men workers were signing on at the employment exchanges.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

Before the right hon. Gentleman becomes too deeply immersed in these statistical references to employment in Northern Ireland, he should, if he will forgive my saying so, make clear to the Committee what is the basis of the assumption on which he is proceeding. Does he not realise that, except for two narrow categories, the question of legislation in Northern Ireland in this context is one for the Government of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Parliament and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the House of Commons under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920? I fear that the right hon. Gentleman is approaching his Amendment on a misapprehension of the constitutional relationship.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Marquand

I do not think that I have any misapprehension at all. Before we say that the provisions of the Bill shall, or may, apply to Northern Ireland, we want to know whether it would he a wise step, whether the conditions in Northern Ireland are such as to justify it.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to tell the Committee whether he thinks that, if his Amendments were carried, they would deny to the Northern Ireland Parliament the right of legislating over the general field in respect of an increased National Health Service contribution, if it so desired?

Mr. Marquand

If it be that it would make no difference at all, then I do not understand why it is put in the Bill. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is suggesting that the adoption of this Amendment would make no difference whatsoever, and the Northern Ireland Government would still be able to do it, why put it in the Bill?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Because, as I shall explain in a few minutes, if I catch your eye, Sir Charles, there are two limited categories only in respect of which they might not be able to legislate but for these clarifying words. With great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, I do not really think that he is in order in pursuing his observations, except in that limited category.

Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)

That is for the Chair to say.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I will make a submission to the Chair in due course, if that would be of help to the Committee. All I am trying to do at the moment is to assist the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) not to fall further into error than he appears already to be doing.

Mr. Marquand

I had assumed that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had it in mind to address some remarks to the Committee when I have finished what I have to say. I shall be prepared to listen to him with great care, of course, but I should be glad to be allowed to proceed now. No doubt, Sir Charles, you will call me to order if I should commit any breach of order such as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has suggested.

Are the Government, in putting into the Bill the words which I suggest should be left out, conveying to the Northern Ireland Parliament the opinion that it should legislate in respect of the categories to which the Minister has referred? If that were not so, why put it in the Bill at all? My question still remains: has the Minister indicated to the Government of Northern Ireland that there is need for them to use the powers they have to increase the contributions paid by National Health Service contributors?

The Minister may argue—perhaps he has it in mind to do so—that people who are unemployed, as 10 per cent. of the workers in Northern Ireland are, do not pay contributions, and would not, therefore, be required to pay the increased Health Service contribution provided for here. That is perfectly true. I suggest that the prevalence of a high level of unemployment reduces the annual earnings of the workpeople concerned and makes it a great deal more difficult for them to pay these contributions at such times as they are working and putting stamps on their cards. An increase in Income Tax, I suggest, would not hit these unemployed workers of Northern Ireland when they are in employment anything like so severely as would the proposal in the Bill.

Many of the workers in Northern Ireland are engaged in seasonal industry, and many more work part-time. Under the Bill, part-time workers would be required to pay as large increased contributions as full-time workers, thus militating against the employing of part-time and seasonal workers, making it more expensive for employers to employ them, and, thereby, reducing still further their chances of getting what employment they can at the moment. Already, the people of Northern Ireland are suffering heavily from unemployment. If the Bill be passed and the Northern Ireland Government choose to exercise the powers conferred by it, unemployment in Northern Ireland will become not better, but worse than it is even in the present difficult situation.

On the whole, families are larger in Northern Ireland than they are in this part of the United Kingdom. In view of the fact that Northern Ireland workers have larger families to maintain out of their wages, subject, as they are, to periodic unemployment, the burden now proposed to be laid upon them would be unfair and unjust.

We ought to say at this point to the Northern Ireland Government, "We think that, on the whole, you ought to stop there. We do not want Northern Ireland to become an even more depressed area than it is at present. We suggest to you that if you do not use the powers available to you to levy charges on National Insurance contributions we would be able to come to your rescue through the general tax fund of the United Kingdom". In that way, the United Kingdom would make an additional contribution towards preventing Northern Ireland from remaining a depressed area—the most depressed area in the whole of the United Kingdom.

This Amendment would have the effect, if carried, of at least helping Northern Ireland by means of the general body of the revenue of the United Kingdom as a whole. It would tend to prevent Northern Ireland from becoming even more depressed than it is now. Reflecting on these matters, I hope that those hon. Members who represent Northern Ireland here—whom we are glad to see in the Committee this afternoon—will add their voices to ours and will urge the Minister not to turn a deaf ear or a stony face to the plea that we are making and that they will say to him, "This is a reasonable proposal".

Furthermore, I hope that they will give the Committee the benefit of some of the information which they doubtless possess of the way in which the Health Service is working in Northern Ireland—whether it needs additional help or whether they are satisfied with it as it is. Are they satisfied with the provision for hospitals which exists in Northern Ireland, or do they want to improve it? If they do, in what way do they want it improved? I hope that the hon. Members from Northern Ireland will contribute to the debate and that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will do more than make mere debating points.

We are serious about this matter. We care for the welfare of Northern Ireland. We are sorry to see it in the sad plight in which it is. We are sorry to think that while the Government have been in office for the last seven years their plight has not improved, but become worse. We hope by this Amendment that we can do something to help our fellow citizens in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Walker-Smith rose——

Mr. J. Griffiths

Surely the Minister does not wish to deprive us of the opportunity to discuss this matter.

Mr. Walker-Smith

My normal practice is:o wait to hear the speeches of hon. Members before intervening, but on this occasion the speech of the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) has shown such a gross misapprehension not only of the constitutional position which exists between this country and Northern Ireland, but even of the nature and purport of the Amendment which he was supposed to be explaining, that I think it would be more helpful if I intervened now.

Without any disrespect to the right hon. Gentleman, I must say that I have never heard a speech so little related to an Amendment since one of the Ministers in the Labour Government of 1945 read, in reference to an Amendment, the brief which had been carefully prepared by his Department in reference to the succeeding Amendment.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

On a point of order. Surely the Minister is referring to the case where his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General read a speech relating to an Amendment different from that before the Committee.

Mr. Griffiths

If we are to have Parliamentary precedents, it is fair to have them on both sides.

Mr. Walker-Smith

My recollection is that it was not the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) who did this; it was another of his colleagues. But as the right hon. Gentleman to whom I refer is no longer a Member of this House, I do not think it would be right to refer to him by name. Therefore, it would perhaps be helpful to the Committee if I reminded hon. Members—although I am sure that the majority of them have no need to be reminded on this important point—of what is the precise constitutional relationship between the Government of Northern Ireland and ourselves in this context.

The Government of Northern Ireland have powers under the Act of 1920 to legislate in Northern Ireland for domestic purposes—such as introducing National Health Service contributions in respect of persons residing in Northern Ireland. That is within their jurisdiction, save only in respect of certain specific categories.

Mr. Griffiths

We made a constitutional change the other day in the 1957 Act in which we instituted a separate National Health Service contribution. Could we be told whether the Northern Ireland Parliament have also made that constitutional change?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Yes. In Northern Ireland the same stamp is being used as we use here. It is endorsed for Northern Ireland purposes, but that is done within the jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland Government. It is not for this House to legislate, or even to seek to advise, as the right hon. Gentleman was purporting to do, the Northern Ireland Government in respect of matters which lie within their statutory jurisdiction under the Act of 1920.

However, there are—and this is where the slight complication arises—three specific categories which are excepted from that general jurisdiction. They are these: First, Crown servants; secondly, foreign-going seamen; and, thirdly, persons serving in Her Majesty's forces. There is not and could not be anything in the Bill to compel the Northern Ireland Parliament to legislate for increases. Equally, from the constitutional point of view, obviously there is nothing to compel them not to so legislate. That must be so, because these are matters which are constitutionally within the domestic jurisdiction of the Northern Ireland Government and Parliament.

The object of the words in the Bill that the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment seeks to omit is very narrow. It is simply to perm it the Northern Ireland Government, if they so wish, to legislate in respect of the excepted categories comparably with what we are doing here.

I am asked: what is the intention of the Northern Ireland Government? I understand that it is their intention to introduce legislation providing for the same increases in the National Health Service contribution as are proposed for Great Britain. But it is not for us in this House to seek to inhibit them in their general intention, which is one within their own statutory jurisdiction.

I was asked about the 1957 Act and the relevance and purport of Section 5, which would be omitted from the Bill if the Amendments were carried. Section 5 of the 1957 Act was necessary because, otherwise, Northern Ireland could not have had completely comparable legislation—that is to say, they could not have provided for contributions to be paid by two of the categories I have named, namely, the Crown servants and the foreign-going seamen. So far as the third category, the Armed Forces, is concerned, they have not and never have had the power to legislate for contributions, and the 1957 Act, as hon. Members will see if they will be good enough to look at it, did not give them such power, because that is expressly reserved by Section 5 (2) of that Act. Nor does subsection (3) give them such power.

4.0 p.m.

The Clause makes it clear that the position now is as it was under the 1957 Act. If the Amendment were accepted and the relevant words were left out the position would be in doubt. It might well be that the Government of Northern Ireland could bring in comparable legislation simply by relying upon the provisions of Section 5 of the 1957 Act, without any express words needing to be incorporated in the Bill. That would depend upon the interpretation of the words: for purposes similar to the purposes of any of the provisions of this Act. I should like to know the intention of the Amendment. It cannot be what the right hon. Gentleman thinks it is, because his intention goes far wider either than the terms of the Amendment or than would be constitutionally possible for the House. If his intention is to leave the position in doubt it is a remarkable intention, and I should like to know the reason for it. If, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman thinks that without the words there would be no power to legislate to increase the contributions of these two specified categories of Crown servants and foreign-going seamen, I should like to know why he singles out those two categories for special treatment. I ask him to accept the fact that those are the only categories which the Amendment can affect.

That being so, I submit that the right hon. Gentleman's speech went much wider than the terms of the Amendment or the constitutional——

Mr. J. Griffiths

On a point of order. In moving the Amendment, my right hon. Friend deployed his arguments and he was not ruled out of order, Sir Charles. Since the speech of my right hon. Friend was in order, I would ask you to rule that he should not be instructed by the Minister as to what is in order.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Before you deal with that point, Sir Charles, I should like to point out that I never suggested that you did not rule appropriately—or fail to rule appropriately—in this case. I did not suggest that what the right hon. Gentleman said was out of order. It was clear to me that you were giving him ample opportunity to bring his observations within the context of the Amendment.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to believe that the Amendment has not and cannot have anything to do with the very wide issues which he sought to deploy. It is concerned with a very narrow point. It goes only to the question whether the Northern Ireland Government shall or shall not be given a clear indication that they are entitled to legislate over the whole field including the two specified categories—foreign-going seamen and Crown servants. In my submission, it is quite obvious that the position in Northern Ireland should be similar to that which obtains here in respect of that Government's right of action. Whether they act or not is a matter for them, but the position should be made as clear as it can be within the terms of the Bill.

Mr. E. Fletcher

I have rarely heard a more specious argument than that of the Minister. He could not have listened to the very powerful and cogent speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand).

I have a copy of the 1957 Act, with which the Amendment deals. The Amendment suggests that Section 5, in so far as it relates to Northern Ireland, should not be written into the Bill. I am not concerned to argue whether or not a constitutional point is involved in regard to the relation between this country and Northern Ireland, but if such a point is involved it is competent for the Committee to consider it. Section 5 of the 1957 Act provides that no limitation or restriction imposed by virtue of any enactment on the powers of the Parliament of Northern Ireland shall preclude that Parliament from passing legislation for purposes similar to the purposes of any of the provisions of this Act"— that is, the Act of 1957. Today, we are faced with an entirely new situation. The Government have introduced a Bill to increase the National Health Service contributions, and they are seeking to make that operative both in regard to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Mr. J. Griffiths

To some people in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Fletcher

Our argument is that in passing the Bill we should not make those contributions payable by certain people in Northern Ireland. We are constitutionally entitled to argue that matter.

Hon. Members on this side of the Committee vehemently opposed the Second Reading of the Bill. We divided against it, and were, unfortunately, beaten, owing to a temporary majority on the other side. We are opposed to it in principle. The majority carrying the Second Reading was inflated by a number of representatives of Northern Ireland constituencies. We are seeking to protect and preserve the rights of the people of Northern Ireland.

I listened very attentively to the Second Reading debate, and I have since read the HANSARD report of it, and I cannot find a single mention of Northern Ireland. I do not believe that any Member on either side of the House referred to it. This is, therefore, virtually the first opportunity that we have had to consider to what extent it is reasonable that the Bill should apply to Northern Ireland. My hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) referred to the operations of the New York City Council, but that has nothing to do with Northern Ireland. I mention that fact only to indicate the scope of the Second Reading debate.

We approach the situation in regard to Northern Ireland with a clean sheet. I was not a part to the Act of 1957, or to Section 5, which gave the Northern Ireland Parliament certain rights. Looking at the question de novo, however, I am convinced that we must consider whether it is reasonable, fair and just to make these increased Health Service contributions payable by people in Northern Ireland.

No constitutional question arises out of the Act of 1920. I do not think that even the right hon. and learned Gentleman would dare to deny that it is competent for us, as a matter of constitutional theory and practice, to legislate whether or not Section 5 of the principal Act should not be extended to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Walker-Smith

That is perfectly true, but it only affects and can only affect these two narrow specific categories of Crown servants and foreign-going seamen.

Mr. Fletcher

I dare say, but I say that it would affect more. I am not sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right or wrong, but let us give him the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that there are only two limited categories that it might affect. I would still prefer to protect those two categories than protect none at all. I would still hope that if we make a sufficiently emphatic and dogmatic protest about those two categories, that will in itself have some effect on whether the Parliament of Northern Ireland should decide to apply the Act generally to other categories. Therefore, this is a matter of some great importance.

It is for those reasons that my right hon. Friend deployed arguments to show that the situation in Northern Ireland is totally different from the situation in Great Britain from an industrial, economic and political point of view.

Mr. J. Griffiths

My hon. Friend will be aware that there is only a caretaker Government in Northern Ireland at the moment.

Mr. Fletcher

Exactly. The Government of Northern Ireland is only a caretaker Government. There is not a Government there with a proper democratic right to represent the people of Northern Ireland. Therefore, the people of Northern Ireland are entitled to look to this House for their protection and for the safeguarding of their constitutional liberties, and that is what we are trying to do.

For the right hon. and learned Gentleman, by innuendo, to attempt to suggest that my right hon. Friend's speech was out of order in traversing this important question was most ill-advised and most disrespectful to the Chair. It was a totalitarian view. He had obviously failed to observe the vital significance of what my right hon. Friend was saying. My right hon. Friend was arguing, if I understood him correctly—and I support him—that the situation in Northern Ireland is totally different from the situation in England and Scotland. It is no use the right hon. and learned Gentleman or any Member on the Government Front Bench getting into the habit of assuming that economic and industrial conditions in Northern Ireland are the same as they are in this country. We all know that they are profoundly different.

Serious problems of unemployment exist in Northern Ireland. There are serious problems of family conditions, family insurance and the size of families in Northern Ireland that do not operate in this country. I feel sure that we would be remiss in our duty if, now that we have got the opportunity which this Amendment provides of considering how this Bill operates in Northern Ireland, we did not take the fullest opportunity of ventilating the grievances of the people of Northern Ireland.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

Nobody else does it for them.

Mr. Fletcher

True, nobody else does it. We have constitutional obligations to do it, and I for one am anxious to exercise my constitutional rights and duties. I feel very sorry for the people of Northern Ireland, and I want to take every opportunity that is open to me to protect them. It is no objection to this Amendment for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that this Amendment may only apply to limited categories of people.

Mr. Walker-Smith

It can only apply.

Mr. Fletcher

I do not mind whether it can or whether it cannot. Even if, strictly, it can only apply to limited categories, I should have thought that, a fortiori, it is all the more important that we should do everything we can to protect the rights of those limited categories of people in Northern Ireland whom we can protect. If we do that and we convince hon. Members opposite of the justice of protecting the people of Northern Ireland, if we do it in respect of limited categories of people, I believe that that will have a moral persuasive effect which will extend far beyond the limited categories to whom it may have a limited, strictly legal application.

4.15 p.m.

I do not want to reiterate the very serious hardships and economic conditions under which the people of Northern Ireland are suffering at the moment.

Mr. Mellish

Why not?

Mr. Fletcher

I do not want to trespass upon the time of the Committee. I merely adopt the arguments of my right hon. Friend. I feel that the speech of the Minister of Health was totally unsatisfactory. He failed to apply himself to the really serious motives that are behind this Amendment, and I hope that, on reflection, he will see the wisdom and justice of accepting this Amendment.

Sir David Campbell (Belfast, South)

My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Health has dealt with the main points raised by the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), but there are one or two points to which he did not refer because they fall outside the scope of the proposed Amendment.

With permission, I should like to say something by way of reply to some of the points which have been raised. The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) made quite clear to all of us what is behind the strictures which have come from the benches opposite. He referred to the fact that elections are pending in Northern Ireland. I do not propose to make an Election address here——

Mr. Mellish

Why not?

Sir D. Campbell

—though I think that the speeches from the benches opposite were made deliberately with that purpose.

The Section to which the Amendment applies merely means that the Government of Northern Ireland will have full powers to introduce whatever rates they think fit for all other than members of the Armed Forces. In fact, it has been announced that the Northern Ireland Government intend to introduce at an early date a Bill which will impose necessary increases. The present rate of contribution in Northern Ireland is the same as it is in the United Kingdom as a whole, and it is the intention of the Northern Ireland Government, if they are returned to power, as, of course, they will be, to introduce a Bill similar to the one which is before us.

The only matter which is doubtful is whether the Northern Ireland Government have the power to introduce these increases with respect to officers of the Crown—postal clerks, Customs and Excise officers, and so on—plus foreign-going seamen. The Government of Northern Ireland have no power to legislate in respect of National Health contributions of members of Her Majesty's Services serving in Northern Ireland, and they never did have that power. The question narrows itself down to whether we should remove the doubt as to the competence of the Northern Ireland Government to legislate in respect of officers of the Crown and foreign-going seamen. That is the entire scope of this Amendment.

Turning to one or two of the other points which have been raised, I am glad to be able to assure the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East that the National Health Service in Northern Ireland is of a very high order. I do not say that improvement could not be brought about in hospital accommodation and certain other branches of the Service, but, generally speaking, the quality of the Service is as high as the Service in the United Kingdom as a whole and can compare exceedingly favourably.

The costs of our Service have increased, of course, and, as in this country, to meet those increased costs the Government will act rightly and properly when they introduce a Bill to increase the charges. The Minister has stated categorically that he will introduce these increases. The Northern Ireland Government have thought it right and proper that the increased costs should be met to some extent by means of additional contributions.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the unemployment situation in Northern Ireland. We on this side of the Committee are just as concerned about the grave unemployment situation in Northern Ireland as hon. Members on the other side of the Committee. However, the suggestion that not to increase the male worker's health contributions by 6d. a week is not one which would help us to solve our problem of unemployment.

Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)

Will the hon. Gentleman deal with the effect on the part-time workers in Northern Ireland, upon whom this Increase will bear most heavily?

Sir D. Campbell

We have a number of part-time workers in Northern Ireland, just as there are in the rest of the United Kingdom. It is true that an additional 6d. a week means something to the part-time worker, but it is not of such tremendous weight as the hon. Member would seem to suggest.

We are all grievously concerned about this unemployment. It is a matter with which the Northern Ireland Government are doing their best to deal. They have been in close consultation with the Government here, and they are working on schemes which, I trust, will help us in dealing with this grave problem.

I would suggest to right hon. and hon. Members opposite that there is one way in which they may possibly help us, and that is by using their influence with the trade union movement. I am all in favour of trade unions and of the trade union movement, but I suggest that right hon. and hon. Members opposite should use their influence to see that trade unions do not fight one another and so give rise to strikes and, thereby, to further unemployment.

The Chairman

The hon. Member is going a little beyond the Amendment.

Sir D. Campbell

I bow to your Ruling, Sir Charles, but the right hon. Gentleman did drift very considerably away from the Amendment.

I merely say, as my right hon. and learned Friend has said, that this Amendment, if passed, would leave in doubt whether a small category of persons in Northern Ireland could have their National Health contributions increased by the Government of Northern Ireland whereas it leaves the great majority of the people, and certainly those who are unemployed or on part-time work, entirely at the mercy—and it is the mercy—of the Northern Ireland Government, which have the interests of the unemployed very much in mind. It seems to me quite wrong that hon. Members should ask us to support an Amendment which would have the effect of leaving out two small groups of persons in Northern Ireland from the legislative competency which the Northern Ireland Government possesses.

Mr. Mellish

It is always a privilege and a pleasure to hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast, South (Sir D. Campbell), who is a very popular Member, and if I criticise what he has said it is not to be taken as a criticism of him as a person. It is simply his politics that we do not like.

It is good to hear the problems of Northern Ireland being discussed in this Committee. It is a pity that Members representing Northern Ireland are the most silent Members. It is a great pity that they come all this way from the other side of the water only to say nothing when they come here, especially as they have more problems than we have. An opportunity of this kind should be very welcome to them.

Mr. J. Griffiths

In a debate the other day on unemployment we gave an opportunity to Members from Northern Ireland to take part, and most of them did take part. We gave them the opportunity to raise this tragic problem.

Mr. Mellish

I am glad to hear that, because I think that the Northern Ireland people are a great people.

The purpose of this very simple Amendment, which the Minister tried so hard adequately to explain, is to protect at least some of those people. Of course, we are glad to take the opportunity to express general opinions on the problems to which the Amendment is related.

I think that the individuals concerned would be relieved if this Amendment could be carried. I would remind hon. Members from Northern Ireland, if they are still listening, that the argument, "This is only 6d. extra" is not a really valid one. It is an argument which can go on and on. The contribution could go up 3d. in another month's time, 6d. in a month after that, another 3d. three months after that. Whenever one of these increases is made the argument is always that it is only 3d. or only 6d. This 6d. is imposed on top of the already very heavy payment which now amounts to nearly 10s. a week, which has to be found by every man or woman who is insured.

This is a very substantial amount of money. I should have thought that hon. Members from Northern Ireland would have been only to pleased to have strenuously opposed the imposition of this burden on the workers in Northern Ireland. There is a great deal of part-time employment in Northern Ireland, far more thy here, and salaries are very bad indeed.

The whole trouble with Northern Ireland is that it is a country where politics are quite different from what we in the rest of Great Britain understand politics to be. They are not conducted on the basis of the Tories on the one hand and Labour people on the other and with a few Liberals floating about. Over there, politics are based on religion. People do not vote on the basis of being Tories or supporters of the Labour Party. They——

The Chairman

If we start on that subject we shall get into trouble.

Mr. Mellish

I was only making the point, Sir Charles, that in this great political assembly, when we discuss matters of this kind, we should remember the rather sad position of our kinsfolk in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Harry Randall (Gateshead, West)

I am sure that my hon. Friend will know, for example, that among Post Office employees in Northern Ireland there is a greater number of part-time postmen than in the postal services in any other part of the United Kingdom. A sad feature of this is that these part-time postmen in Northern Ireland are unable to follow any other occupation and have to depend upon their pay from the Post Office.

Mr. Mellish

That is an illustration of the scene. I have said that there is more part-time employment in Northern Ireland than there is here. There is that special problem of the postmen in Northern Ireland. In England there are part-time postmen only at Christmas time, when there is a special demand on the postal services.

These people are being asked to pay a greater contribution without any protest being made by any of the hon. Members from Northern Ireland. They are not protecting them, and we on this side of the Committee try to do so. I have very little Irish blood in me. It is four or five generations back. I do not see why I should bother about Northern Ireland, but, still, we do our best for it.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast, South said he did not want to read an Election address to us. I wanted to ask him: is it being said by his party that if it gets back to power it will impose this 6d.? Is that what members of his party are saying? Are they telling the people in Northern Ireland that? Whether he denies or admits it, I must take it from him, but I can only say that Elections in Northern Ireland, so far as I can judge, are not fought on issues like that.

As I said earlier, when you, Sir Charles, ruled me out of order, religion is the only issue. I say it only in passing. It is a terrible thing that in this day and age there cannot be rows simply between Tories and Labour people, and that, instead, there are rows about whether people are Catholics or Protestants. What I object to is that at the end of a General Election we here are pestered with a large number of hon. Members from Northern Ireland who are not elected because they are Tories, but who are elected on the basis of religion. I object to it very strongly, and I think that many of my hon. Friends do, too.

Every time an Election is fought we in this country are handicapped by having, as a start, a dozen or so hon. Members from Northern Ireland who are elected——

The Chairman

We must leave religion out of these matters.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Mellish

I will not go on about religion, Sir Charles.

My party objects strongly to the purpose of this Bill. I would not have minded if people in this country or in Northern Ireland received greater benefits from the National Health Service through this extra 6d. The Minister implied on Second Reading that they would do so, but I know what will happen. There will be substantial cuts, to a great extent hospital management committees and regional boards will find that they will not be able to continue their existing services, and there will be a standstill in future development for at least a year because of the Minister's policy of cutting the amount of money available to them. So, on the one hand, we shall pay more and, on the other, we shall get less.

The Minister can "muck about" with figures as much as he likes. His main argument is based on the Estimates. I know that he will say that there will be an extra amount this year but it is, in fact, a cut, and he knows it. Thirteen thousand pounds for the South-Eastern region——

The Chairman

Order, order.

Mr. Mellish

This relates to Northern Ireland, Sir Charles, because if that is happening here it will be happening there. I am arguing that the extra 6d. should be opposed by the hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies. They should say that it is wrong. Hon. Members from Northern Ireland are looking wistful and wondering what it is all about. They should get up and say something.

Mr. G. B. H. Currie (Down, North)

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has referred to some of us as sitting here wistfully wondering what it is all about. There is a great deal of truth in what he says in that respect, because the hon. Gentleman ranged so far and wide of the compelling reasons for moving such an Amendment that, in the end, we wondered precisely what he wanted to do. His right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) explained admirably the purpose of the Amendment, namely, to make Section 5 of the 1957 Act no longer applicable to Northern Ireland.

Two things emerge with clarity. The first is that the hon. Gentleman wanted to make an electioneering speech because there is to be an Election in Northern Ireland. The other was that for the first time the Socialist Party in the House of Commons has come out into the open and has said that it is its policy, as a party, to remove from the Government of Northern Ireland their power to legislate on vital domestic matters. That is the effect of the Amendment. The powers of the Northern Ireland Government are to be reduced by limiting their power to legislate on matters relating to Health Service charges. That is a grave constitutional issue and one which, I hope, will be appreciated by the people of Northern Ireland who read the OFFICIAL REPORT of this debate.

To be fair to the right hon. Gentleman, and to be completely impartial, let us examine what the Amendment proposes to do. It proposes to remove from the Northern Ireland Government their power to legislate for the increased National Health Service charge relating to foreign-going seamen and also to servants of the Crown other than those in the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces have always been outside the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Northern Ireland and that Parliament have never sought this power. They have, however, sought to clarify its legislative capacity as regards Post Office and other servants of the Crown following peaceful pursuits.

Supposing this Amendment were to be accepted by the Committee, and as a result Section 5 of the 1957 Act were no longer applicable to Northern Ireland, what would be the position? No doubt a test action would have to be fought some time to decide whether or not the Government of Northern Ireland had power to impose an additional charge in respect of the Health Service contributions. We do not want this position of ambiguity. We do not want the matter to be left unclarified. We want, here and now, in the way the Government have suggested, to put this beyond doubt so that we shall not have to fight any legal actions. Therefore, I am glad that the matter have been ventilated.

Reference has been made to unemployment in Northern Ireland, and it is recognised by those who sit opposite that those of us on this side of the Committee are as gravely concerned as they are about unemployment. Since this question has been raised, however, may I point out that three weeks ago Scottish and Welsh hon. Gentlemen opposite were asking whether similar measures for the relief of unemployment could be introduced in the distressed areas of Scotland and South Wales to those which the Government of Northern Ireland have introduced over the past few years. I therefore hope that some appreciation will be shown on the other side of the Committee of what has been done by the Government of Northern Ireland.

Finally, there is no point in the Amendment put by the Opposition. It is purely a political gambit, and in my submission it should be rejected out of hand.

Mr. John Diamond (Gloucester)

I am sure, Sir Charles, that you would like us to have the opportunity to deny the remark of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Down, North (Mr. Currie) that this Amendment is a purely political gambit. He could not have been listening to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), or he would not have permitted himself to use such an expression.

What we are concerned with on this side of the Committee is to protect those who have no others to protect them. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to feel that they are entitled to come here and assist in legislation on behalf of some free citizens who will be ruled in a particular way if their views are supported. They cannot conceive of the possibility of their views being defeated.

In the present situation, when Northern Ireland is without a democratically elected Government, it is up to those of us on this side of the Committee to step into the breach, and, in a democratic fashion, attempt to protect the citizens of Northern Ireland who are citizens of the United Kingdom.

This argument would not find favour on the Government Front Bench, where the Minister, not being able to controvert the powerful arguments put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East, rose immediately my right hon. Friend finished his speech and before allowing any other hon. Member to participate in the debate. He is entitled to do that if he wants to rule the Committee in this way. II is a way to veto free speech in the House of Commons, an attempt to veto the Ruling of the Chair, as you will have observed, Sir Charles, by suggesting that you will allow the discussion to go too wide. Who, having sat under your fair chairmanship, would ever suggest that it was possible for you to allow the discussion to go too wide?

Having suggested that, and having attempted to answer a point of order addressed to you by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. Griffiths), it is clear that the Minister would not favour this kind of argument. Unable to deal with the arguments, he attempted to shut up the Committee by speaking straight away and by saying that my right hon. Friend was grossly misinformed. It has turned out that the only person grossly misinformed is the Minister himself.

We are dealing with a most important category of persons, foreign-going seamen. The House of Commons saw fit, a few days ago, to interrupt most important business and to divert its whole attention for three hours to dealing with one foreign-going seaman. Here we are dealing with a number of such men who have no one to protect them, no Parliament in Northern Ireland to look after them, and with Northern Ireland Members apparently only too anxious to support the Government, irrespective of the arguments, and leaving it to this side of the Committee, to those who believe in democratic procedure and who do not believe in these increased contributions, to support these men.

In those circumstances, having regard to the affront to the Committee and the affront to the Chair and the lack of reply to the arguments, I sincerely hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will protest and will divide on the Amendment.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Montgomery Hyde (Belfast, North)

I had not intended to intervene in this discussion and I shall detain the Committee for only a few moments. I intervene principally on account of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish). He has not been fair to Members for Northern Ireland constituencies who sit on this side of the Committee. He said that he would have liked to have heard more from them about Northern Irish affairs, but there are many matters, of which health is one, about which we are largely inhibited from speaking because they fall within the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government of Northern Ireland under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. If we spoke about them, we should be ruled out of order.

However, the hon. Member said something which I thought very unfair—if I may say so without any feeling of animosity—which was that in Northern Ireland Members are elected on the basis of religion. I entirely disagree with that. On the contrary, the religion of the minority is represented, and there is much less animosity on that score than there has been in the past, and I deplore any tendency to inflame it. Also, the members of the religion of the minority enjoy the social services, such as the Health Service, which are of a standard much higher than that enjoyed by their co-religionists on the other side of the Border, in the Republic of Ireland.

The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) said that he would have liked to have heard something about how the Health Service in Northern Ireland worked. I will only say that we have a Health Service of which we are very proud. We have a first-rate medical school in our university and our hospitals are well staffed and, particularly on the clinical side, can stand up to hospitals anywhere in the world. I am extremely proud of them.

The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) was a little disparaging about the Government of Northern Ireland, whom he called a "caretaker" Government. I want to set his mind at rest. More than half the new Members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland have been returned unopposed and they are pledged to support the Unionist Government of Northern Ireland. Among those 27 Members are the Prime Minister and five of his Cabinet colleagues. I am sure that the hon. Member need have no apprehensions that the affairs of Northern Ireland will not be carried on with the same efficiency and humanity as in the past.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Would it interest the hon. Member to know that I am repeatedly asked to raise questions in the House about injustices in Northern Ireland, questions which would be out of order? It is merely because of that that I took this opportunity, which does arise on a matter which is in order, of trying to express some of the grievances felt by the citizens of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hyde

I appreciate that the hon. Member is asked to raise these issues. I have been asked to raise issues affecting English constituencies and I endeavour to do so. The odds are even there.

Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)

When the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Hyde) rose, I thought that he intended to speak in the same tone which he adopted in the debate on 24th February, when the House of Commons debated unemployment. According to HANSARD, he concluded by saying: My conclusion on this subject is that, unless the cold breezes of financial austerity which are blowing from Whitehall, and which have been blowing for the past year, are somehow tempered to the shorn lamb of Ulster's economy, our unemployment figures are likely to reach unprecedented heights."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th February, 1958; Vol. 583, c. 135.] In other words, he was asking the Government to make Northern Ireland a special case and to discriminate.

Mr. Hyde

It is only right that the hon. Member should bear in mind that those remarks were directed to the operation of the credit squeeze.

Mr. Prentice

I understand that, but it is logical to apply the same sort of reasoning to the subject with which we are dealing this afternoon, because the purpose of the Amendment is to discriminate in favour of Northern Ireland.

Much has been said about the fact that Stormont can legislate for itself on these matters, but last year, when this Parliament raised the National Health Service contribution, Stormont followed and we have been told this afternoon that it intends to follow suit again. The Amendment is an attempt to discriminate.

I suggest—and it has not been denied by speakers from the other side of the Committee—that there is some relationship between this matter and unemployment in Northern Ireland. The effect of the Bill on Northern Ireland will be only small, but the situation which now exists there is such that we ought to be supersensitive about any effect, however small, however marginal, on the unemployment situation in an area where, we have been told, the present unemployment figure is more than 10 per cent.

This Bill is one of a series. Last year, there was legislation which raised the National Insurance contribution and in November there was a further rise. This is the third increase in less than a year. What will be the effects on an area suffering from heavy unemployment? I think that there will be three. The first is that great hardship will be imposed on those people who are hanging on and who themselves may be unemployed next week or the week after. One of the worst aspects of a depressed area is that those who are in work never know when it is their turn to be out of work.

There are people who are worried whether they will be put off at the end of this week or next week, and there are very few whose wages allow them to scrape something together for a reserve of savings to cushion the effect of unemployment when it comes. On these people, and particularly on the part-time workers who have been mentioned already, a cut of 6d. in their take-home pay is serious and ought to be considered.

Secondly, there will be an adverse effect on the purchasing power of working-class families in Northern Ireland. Perhaps it is only 6d. if there is one wage earner, and perhaps 1s. or 10d. if there is more than one, dependent on whether they are men and women and that sort of thing, but the purchasing power of these families will be seriously affected in an area which is already depressed——

Mr. A. Evans

Would not my hon. Friend agree that one aspect of the policy which was behind the earlier increase was that it was an attempt by the Government to restrict the amount of money in the hands of the consumer?

Mr. Prentice

I agree with my hon. Friend. I think that it is a bad policy for the whole of the United Kingdom, and particularly bad for a depressed area like Northern Ireland.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

Could not the hon. Gentleman spread this argument further? He is really saying that the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives cannot do things so well as this Government.

Mr. Prentice

I suggest that the Government of Northern Ireland and the Government of this country cannot do things as well as a Labour Government in this country would do them.

Thirdly, apart from the actual effects of this proposed increased charge upon the economy of Northern Ireland, the acceptance of the Amendment would be a gesture on behalf of this Government. It would show that in something they had discriminated. In the debate on unemployment, both the Minister of Labour and the President of the Board of Trade said how concerned they were with the employment situation in Northern Ireland. The people there are now waiting to see whether that concern will be translated into something practical. This is a very small step which we are proposing, but it would be one by which we could show that we had discriminated in favour of this area, and it certainly should be supported by those hon. Members opposite who sit for Northern Ireland constituencies.

Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)

We cannot hope to settle the political and economic destinies of Northern Ireland on this Bill. The political destiny of Northern Ireland rests in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland. As I said in a public meeting in Belfast the last time I spoke there, so long as politics in Northern Ireland are fuddled with Pope and partition no sense will come out of it. That is all I have to say on the general position of Northern Ireland.

I want to know what will be the effect of the Amendment on Crown servants in Northern Ireland. Did I understand the Minister to say that if the Amendment were carried it would preclude the Northern Ireland Government from levying a contribution on Crown servants in Northern Ireland, or would the effect of passing the Amendment be to facilitate the levying of an additional contribution on Crown servants in addition to that which would be levied by the British Government? I am anxious to discover whether the Amendment would enable the discrimination to be made in favour of Crown servants in Northern Ireland or whether it would enable it to be made against them.

In either case, I am afraid that I cannot agree to an Amendment which does discriminate, one way or the other, in relation to Crown servants in Northern Ireland. My interest in Crown servants in this country is much too great for me to want to support an Amendment which will relieve them of a contribution which the rest of Crown servants in this country might have to pay. Still less would I assent to an Amendment to impose a higher contribution in respect of Crown servants than is imposed on them here.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am much obliged. I had hoped that I had made it clear. I am in the slightly paradoxical position of being asked to interpret an Amendment which has been moved from the other side of the Committee. Indeed, I have incurred the displeasure of the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond) for so doing, which he expressed in somewhat less than his customary temperate language. But I cannot resist the temptation to reply. The position is this.

If the Amendment is rejected, it is clear that it will be open to the Northern Ireland Parliament to legislate in respect of Crown servants and foreign-going seamen, if in their discretion they so desire. If the Amendment were carried, the effect would be to place the issue in doubt, dependent on the precise interpretation of Section 5 (1) of the 1957 Act.

Mr. Niall MacDermot (Lewisham, North)

I do not rise at all in my capacity of Irishman. Unlike some other Irish Members who have spoken, I come from south of the Border. I only rise on one point which the Minister made in his first speech on this matter.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that he understood from the Government of Northern Ireland that it was their intention to introduce a Bill similar to the one which is now before this Committee. In other words, it is their intention to impose a similar increase to those we are to have here. We understand that the Northern Ireland Government have their own Health Service, quite independent of our Health Service. The question I want to ask is what exactly is the relationship—not constitutionally but administratively—between our Health Service and the Health Service in Northern Ireland that should bring about the remarkable coincidence that just at the time when we find it necessary—if we do find it necessary—to impose these increases for the financing of our Health Service in this country, the Government of Northern Ireland are finding it necessary to impose a precisely similar increase of precisely the same amount and covering precisely the same classes of person for the purpose of financing their own Health Service in Northern Ireland. It seems an extraordinary state of affairs.

I appreciate that it is not for the Minister here to answer for the administration of the Health Service in Northern Ireland, but, quite clearly, there is and there must be a close administrative relationship between the two Governments and the two services for the Minister even to be apprised of this fact. Further, we see that the Minister is most sensitive to the possibility that as a result of our Amendment being carried, if it were carried, some doubt might arise as to what was the exact scope of the power of the Government of Northern Ireland to impose similar increases relating to Crown servants or foreign-going seamen in Northern Ireland.

He told us that what, in fact, happens in Northern Ireland is that they use our stamps, surcharged with "Northern Ireland." Is it really the case that what lies behind the Government's opposition to this Amendment is the fact that if it were carried it might be necessary for the Government of Northern Ireland to print their own stamps and study and work out their own scheme? In other words, what is the truth of the matter? Have they really got their own Health Service, and are they really free to decide matters for themselves, or is the truth of the matter that they are administratively compelled to follow sheep-like in our wake; that is to say, a rubber stamp? If that is the position, we should know about it.

I therefore ask the Minister if he will clear up this matter and explain to us why it is that at this moment, when our Government find it necessary to ask for these increases, the Government of Northern Ireland should ask for precisely similar increases and for precisely the same purposes.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Marquand

I thought that the speech made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was excessively legalistic. It sounded not so much like a speech from a Minister of Health as from an Attorney-General; and perhaps there is more than one good reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite wish that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was the Attorney-General and not the Minister of Health.

I have never been so pleased with the fate of any Amendment which I have moved during a Committee stage in this House. It was addressed to a rather narrow and technical point, which was all that the scope of the Bill permitted me to do. But it has succeeded in its object. The debate upon it has elicited some information about what is happening in Northern Ireland. It brought several hon. Members representing constituencies in Northern Ireland into the Chamber and drew speeches from no less than three of them that we were glad to hear.

I said nothing about the Election, but all three of the hon. Members could not keep off the subject. It became clear that this topic is likely to be an issue in the Northern Ireland Election. I hope it will be. If my Amendment has achieved that it will have served a useful purpose. It is apparent from our discussions that the Northern Ireland Government should think a long time before imposing this new tax on the insured workpeople of Northern Ireland. The moving of this Amendment has served a useful purpose, but I do not wish to be misunderstood. I should not like it to be considered in Northern Ireland that we wish to inhibit the Northern Ireland Government from following the good practices of Governments in this country.

We were pleased when the Northern Ireland Government followed the example of the Labour Government in 1946 and started a National Health Service. We were delighted when they followed our example and nationalised road transport and when they followed our example in many other respects, including in their agriculture policy. There is every hope that when a change of Government takes place in this country—as it will before long—the Government of Northern Ireland will have the opportunity of following a good example again. I do not wish to be misunderstood, and so I feel that now we should be content with the debate which has resulted, and having expressed our point of view make clear that we want the people of Northern Ireland to debate this issue for themselves.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

I hesitate to delay the Committee by entering into this debate at so late a point, but I think it as well that all of us, including myself, should understand what the Committee is doing. Apparently, there has been a good deal of doubt expressed about the meaning of the Amendment. Before we debate the question of its effect, it seems to me that we should look at the Bill to see what is its effect in relation to these matters. It seems to me that we have to approach it looking first—because this is the relevant point—at Clause 2 (2) for what light it throws on the Amendment we are now discussing. That subsection says: This Act, except subsection (3) of the preceding section, shall not extend to Northern Ireland. If, therefore, we leave out Clause 1 (3) the Bill will not apply to Northern Ireland at all and these increases could not be levied in Northern Ireland unless a Northern Ireland Parliament so decided.

If my right hon. and hon. Friends wish these increases which we are now seeking to impose on the citizens of the United Kingdom not to be automatically imposed by this Bill on the citizens of Northern Ireland, the simple thing to do would be to eliminate Clause 1 (3) and make the consequential Amendment in Clause 2 (2). Then we should have the result that in Northern Ireland the contributions chargeable would be those now chargeable by reason of the principal Act, but this increase would not be chargeable in Northern Ireland unless separately enacted by the Northern Ireland Parliament. That is the objective of the present Amendments, and I do not see what the difficulty is or why there need be any ambiguity.

We on this side of the Committee believe it unjust, tyrannical and oppressive that at this moment of time these charges should be added to contributors in England. We may not have succeeded in persuading the Government—we have probably succeeded in persuading the country, but that will not matter until after the next General Election—and we get nothing for our own people——

Mr. E. Fletcher

At and after the Election.

Mr. S. Silverman

Yes, at the Election first, and after the result of the Election puts my right hon. Friends on the benches opposite and the right hon. Gentleman and his friends on these benches we shall be able to relieve the contributors in this country from this unjust and oppressive strain on their pockets—this extra poll tax.

We are now at the Committee stage of this Bill, and if we can relieve anybody there seems no reason why we should not do so, even though their circumstances are the same as ours. But in Northern Ireland they are suffering from an even more oppressive Government than we are. Their total of unemployed is higher than ours has yet reached. Whether that position will remain at the time of the next General Election I would hesitate to say, but I am not optimistic. At present, Northern Ireland has a higher degree of unemployment than we have. To that extent, to impose this extra burden on them is a responsibility from which the Northern Ireland Parliament ought not to be relieved. It is for them to decide, and for them to take the responsibility in their own General Election for making an additional charge parallel to the additional charge which we are making. There is no reason why this Committee should impose this extra burden on Northern Ireland which has its own Government and which insisted on having its own Government and on having certain powers reserved to it.

Mr. Hyde

It is untrue to say that Northern Ireland insisted on its own Government. We wanted to come under the Parliament and Government of Westminster, but it was forced on us by the Act of 1920.

Mr. Silverman

That is a controversy which it would be out of order for me to pursue. I am sure, however, that the first part of the hon. Gentleman's intervention will be received with delight in Dublin where they are of opinion that Northern Ireland wishes the partition as it now is and to retain its own Government. If it is the wish of Northern Ireland to retain its own Government, it is right and proper that that Government should take the responsibility of putting this extra burden on Northern Ireland citizens rather than that the burden should be undertaken by this House.

Sir D. Campbell

This Bill and this Amendment have nothing whatever to do with the powers of the Northern Ireland Government regarding the increasing of National Health contributions, except to put out of doubt whether there is jurisdiction to legislate in respect of the contributions of officers of the Crown or foreign-going seamen.

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Gentleman must not confuse me any more than I have already been confused by the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the Government Front Bench. I thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had admitted that if we did not enact Clause 1 (3) and if we left out of Clause 2 (2) the words, "except subsection (3) of the preceding section", the effect would be to leave the Northern Ireland Parliament free to decide for itself whether it would pass in Northern Ireland legislation parallel to the Bill, which would then apply only to the United Kingdom. Surely that is correct.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Member was not here when I made my speech. I tried to explain then the position if the Amendment were carried. It would be that the position of the Northern Irish Government, in respect only of these two limited categories, which is all we are dealing with today, would be doubtful. It would be dependent upon whether the permissive power contained in Section 5 (1) of the Act of 1957 carried forward for these purposes or not. It would be a question of doubt and legal interpretation, which would be unsatisfactory.

Mr. Silverman

Let us approach the matter on that basis. I should not have thought there was much doubt about it, but one does not need to be dogmatic on the point, since the right hon. and learned Gentleman admits that without these Amendments there would be doubt. No Government would proceed to attempt to collect the additional poll tax if they thought that the authority to do so were in doubt. If the Amendment I suggest were made, the doubt would have to be cleared up in other ways. In those circumstances, the only place where the doubt could be cleared up would be the Parliament of Northern Ireland, which would then have, what I am sure it always wished to have, the exclusive responsibility of deciding whether in these two classes of case the additional impost should be collected or not.

It is impossible to imagine that if this part of the Bill which I have suggested might be left out were in fact left out the money could be collected in Northern Ireland unless the Northern Ireland Parliament so enacted. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman agrees with that, because if he does not he would not have drawn his Bill in this way.

Mr. Walker-Smith

It is a question of the effect of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. It is clear from the line the hon. Gentleman is taking that he missed not only my speech, which is a deprivation easily to be borne, but the very excellent speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Down, North (Mr. Currie), who explained the position very precisely to the Committee.

Mr. Silverman

I missed a great many of the speeches, and I regret it. I apologised at the beginning of my speech for not being in and for delaying the Committee so much about it. I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not think me disrespectful of his own speech or of anybody else's speech if I say that I prefer to look at the words of the Bill, to relate them as best I can to the law as it is without them, and then to see how far we can get in that way. I thought it was sufficient for my argument to adopt what the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself said. Unless his Bill had been drawn in this way there would remain doubts about the authority to collect this additional money. He said so repeatedly. If there were no doubt, it is impossible to understand why the words are there at all.

If we take the words out there is then a doubt. If there is a doubt we cannot collect the money. If the doubt is to be resolved, the only way would then be the legislation in the Northern Ireland Parliament that the Northern Ireland representatives appear to be very anxious to avoid for reasons which I think we can understand.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Currie

I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), who is a very old friend of mine, and for whom I have a great respect as a debater, but I do not think he does himself justice, having missed the earlier speeches. Does he not agree that the whole matter is governed by the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and the powers of the Northern Ireland Government which were vested in that Government by that Act?

If he agrees, does he not further agree that there is complete authority in the Government of Northern Ireland to legislate on the National Health Service contribution? If he does, does he not also agree that if there is doubt about matters on which the Northern Ireland Government can legislate—and that is what we are trying to resolve—the matter will have to be determined in the courts? It could not be resolved by the Government of Northern Ireland without resort to the courts. If the Northern Ireland Government have not that power under the 1920 Act, nobody could put the matter right except the House. I agree that it might well suit hon. Gentlemen opposite if the matter were to be taken to the courts for determination, but I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that it is probably better that it should be determined here and now on this Amendment.

Mr. Silverman

All I am concerned about is to save the hon. Gentleman's Northern Ireland constituents from an unjust impost from which I cannot save the citizens of the United Kingdom. I gather from what was said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that if this Amendment were accepted there would be a chance of saving some of them and if it were not accepted there would be no chance of saving any of them. That is why my hon. Friends put down Amendments which I am supporting.

In spite of the extremely careful and lucid argument of the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Currie): which may, for anything I know, be correct, I would prefer to leave the gathering of the impost of doubtful legality rather than to make it certain that it could be legally collected. I would rather the Government could not do so; I would rather place as many difficulties as I could in the way of collecting it. If any responsibility has to be borne in Northern Ireland for the collection of a further poll tax, it is better that it should be borne by the Northern Ireland Parliament who can get the support of the electors for what they have done, rather than they should shelter behind the House of Commons and say," It is not our fault. We had to collect the money because the Imperial Parliament at Westminster told us we must "—which is the position if the Act is unamended.

The Committee would be very well advised to accept the Amendment and to, leave the Northern Ireland Parliament to wrestle with the position as it would then be.

Mr. Gower

I do not think we should allow this discussion to pass without comment on the remarkable theory, put forward by the party opposite, that it is good to delegate to a country or community like Ulster the right to legislate for itself so long as it legislates in accordance with the wishes of the Opposition. That is a quite remarkable theory, which makes nonsense of the professions of many hon. Members opposite that people in territories in other parts of the world should have self-government.

Mr. S. Silverman

The hon. Member, I am sure inadvertently, has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. What we are pleading for is that if possible this power to exact further tax shall be exercised in Northern Ireland, if at all, by an Act of the Northern Ireland Parliament. We want to give them full permission to use it if they desire.

Mr. Gower

That is where I think the hon. Member is making a mistake. The position is that nothing in this Bill, nor in these Amendments, can affect in one small degree the right of the Parliament of Northern Ireland to legislate in respect of its own residents. Whether there should be a Health Service at all, or higher charges, in Northern Ireland—whatever we do here—in respect of domestic residents is a decision for the Parliament of Nothern Ireland. There are certain special categories which were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Down, North (Mr. Currie) which are outside that. It is on that narrow field only that we are having this discussion.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

Without following the legal intricacies presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), I have followed the debate, and I do not think anyone on either side of the Committee wants to interfere with the ultimate right of the Northern Ireland Parliament to make their own decisions about health charges. We take the view, on the other hand, that the Northern Ireland Parliament has an opportunity of which we shall be deprived, of saving the unemployed in Northern Ireland—the maimed, the lame, the cripple, the blind and the poor of Northern Ireland—from bearing this latest poll tax. The purpose of this debate is to attempt to convey to the people of Northern Ireland the desire of hon. Members on this side of the Committee that the poorest people there should not suffer this new imposition which is being made by this Government. I hope my hon. Friends will press the Amendment to a Division.

Mr. W. Griffiths (Manchester, Exchange)

Whatever may be the legal position about the rights of the Northern Ireland Government under the Government of Ireland Act, we know of two facts. Unhappily, Northern Ireland is having a particularly rough time economically. A higher proportion of people there are unemployed than anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

I understand that my hon. Friends are seeking to provide an opportunity for the Government of Northern Ireland to exempt their people in the present difficult circumstances from what my hon. Friend the Member for Itchen (Dr. King) rightly characterised as a poll tax. It is a fact that in these matters the Government of Northern Ireland invariably follow the pattern laid down at Westminster. I have seen nothing in the representation of Ulster in this House during the time I have been here that would lead me to believe that those hon. Members are enthusiastic supporters of social reform. They were among hon. Members opposite who opposed the original Act in all its stages. People in Northern Ireland who have benefited from the National Health Service have done so despite the attitude taken by the representatives of Ulster.

The Government of Northern Ireland invariably follows the pattern laid down in Westminster, but the pattern of legislation for the National Health Service was laid down by a Labour Government in the original Act of 1946. Therefore, the people of Ulster have enjoyed these benefits up to now because of the design of the Labour Government, despite the opposition of their elected representatives from Ulster. That does not stop Ulster Unionists, whenever the question of internal affairs of Ireland is discussed, from pointing out that the social services in Northern Ireland are infinitely better than those of Eire. That is true, but the reason does not arise from any action those hon. Members have taken. If there is a General Election in Northern Ireland, I hope that the words we have put on record will be avidly read and that they will draw the correct conclusion.

Amendment negatived.

Dr. Edith Summerskill (Warrington)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 12, at the end to insert: not being earlier than the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty. The purpose of this Amendment is to enable the Government to obtain a mandate before they impose these charges. It has been said on other occasions that Amendments may be moved for this purpose. Today, we see a striking example of a Conservative Government having made certain promises regarding the Health Service in the last Election failing to keep their pledges.

It should be recalled that we have had four Ministers of Health in this Parliament. I do not know whether the present Minister of Health, since the Election, has read the document entitled, "United for Peace and Progress." I read it at the time of the election to see what the then Opposition were doing, and I have refreshed my memory on it. It is an astonishing document. Perhaps, after the debate, the right hon. and learned Gentleman will read what is in page 25 of that document, under the heading "Good Health", to see what his Government promised to do if they were returned with a majority.

The Minister will see under that heading a recital of the improvements the present Government proposed to make. They were going to build more hospitals and provide more beds. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must examine what he has done in the light of these superlative promises that were made. Several questions, of course, would not arise, but I would remind him of his mean proposals regarding staff, the latest regarding radiographers.

In page 25 of that document it was said that preventive work was to be of such a character that, presumably, the Conservative Government would reduce every morbidity rate and mortality rate to such an extent that there would really be no need for a curative Health Service. I do not exaggerate, for summing it all up, the document said: we rank them … "Them" being hospitals, staffs, beds and preventive work— higher than free wigs and free aspirins". That is a most curious statement in what should be a dignified appeal to the country.

In parenthesis, I should say there must be someone at the Conservative Central Office with an unpleasant form of wit, because wigs are given only to those who have a complaint of a tragic character, alopœcia. We have only to look round the House to see that we do not give wigs to balding men, but only to those with a pathological condition. For the Conservative Central Office to insert that sentence in the appeal is revolting. The document said that they rank these things higher than free wigs and free aspirins. This is a chicken coming home to roost.

What did the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell the House only last week? He told the House that under a Conservative Administration—after they had said this in "United for Peace and Progress"—the average cost of a prescription last December was 6s. 1d., in December, 1956, it was 5s. 6½d. and in December, 1955, it was 4s. 7½d. As to free aspirin, I might remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that 43 per cent. of the drugs prescribed in this country are of a proprietary kind, and have no relationship to free aspirin.

5.30 p.m.

I have to mention this, Sir Gordon, before you may rule me out of order, to prove to the Committee that the promises on health policy made by the Conservative Government have certainly not been kept. In fact, promise and performance have nothing at all in common.

Again, in this pamphlet, there is no mention of charges. A preventive Health Service was promised, and these other promises were made, but the people were not told that the cost of the prescription would be taken out of their own pockets. They were not told that there was to be a charge on prescriptions. They were not told that there were to be two increases—and, maybe, more, before the Government go to the country—on the contributions. Therefore, I say that the people have been grossly betrayed. The Government have not kept their promises. There has been a complete departure from Election pledges.

For this reason we have put down an Amendment that would postpone the implementation of these provisions until after the next Election. The Conservatives will then have an opportunity to go to the country to explain the health policy that has been followed during their term of office and to ask whether they should impose a further charge. I might also say to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in the light of what he said yesterday, that he might await also the Hinchliffe Report.

In the Second Reading debate I reminded him that this was a panic Measure; that the Government had been forced to do this by the Treasury so that they could save their face over the rather difficult business of the Chancellor of the Exchequer retiring. I told the Minister then that he should first of all have looked at the whole Department with a view to decreasing costs, in order to see if he could possibly raise this £32 million elsewhere. This Amendment will give the Government plenty of time—until July, 1960—to try to prevent waste in some other directions, or to go to the country to ask permission to impose these charges.

Mr. Gower

I respectfully suggest that this is very near, at any rate, to a wrecking Amendment. I do not think that the right hon. Lady the Member for Warrington (Dr. Summerskill) can seriously pretend that this Bill is at all practicable if such a date is put in. Indeed, such a date is inconsistent with the title of the Bill. Without arguing the merits of the Bill—because those have been discussed, and decided on Second Reading—I suggest that it would be inconsistent with the decision of the House on Second Reading now to insert——

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of order, Sir Gordon. Is it in order for the hon. Member to invite the Committee to reject an Amendment on the ground that it is out of order, after you have called it?

The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Gordon Touche)

No, it is not in order to pursue that argument.

Mr. Gower

I am not suggesting that it is out of order. I said that it came preciously near to being a wrecking Amendment. Had I said that it entirely destroyed the Bill, I would have said what the hon. Gentleman has suggested. I say that if this Bill, the principle of which has been approved by the House, is to be workable, it is essential that this Committee should reject the Amendment.

Mr. S. Silverman

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) has said that the House has accepted the principle of this Bill. That, of course, is true, but with an important exception——

Mr. Randall

The country has not.

Mr. Silverman

That is the second point, to which I shall refer in a moment. At present, I am dealing with the hon. Gentleman's argument that the House has accepted the principle of the Bill, and that, therefore, this Amendment comes near to being a wrecking Amendment, as being inconsistent with the Measure's purposes.

If I may say so respectfully, the hon. Gentleman is quite wrong, because the Bill provides that the increased charges shall come into force on a day to be appointed. The date that shall be appointed has never been considered either by the House on Second Reading, or, so far, in Committee. Neither the House not the Committee is committed on that point at all. My right hon. Friend's Amendment is intended to define that date in accordance with the circumstances——

Mr. Gower

"The appointed day," which is the phrase used in the Bill, implies that there will be a date appointed within, the near and reasonable future.

Mr. Silverman

I do not know that that is so, but, even if it were, there would be room for a lot of difference of opinion as to the word "near," and as to the word "reasonable." The Committee is really not committed at all. If the only difficulty that the hon. Gentleman feels in supporting this Amendment is its alleged inconsistency with what the House has already decided, I hope that I have relieved his anxieties and that we may now see him in the Division Lobby in support of the Amendment.

The Committee is absolutely free to limit the Minister's discretion. In the Bill as drawn, he has an absolutely free and unfettered discretion to appoint any date he chooses. We say that his discretion should be cut down; that he should not be entitled to impose this further poll tax until after the country has had an opportunity of considering the matter and endorsing it——

Mr. Gower rose——

Mr. Silverman

I do not want to refuse to give way, and if the hon. Member is really anxious to intervene, I shall.

Mr. Gower

The hon. Member would not concede this power, in other words, in the lifetime of this Government?

Mr. Silverman

What I think the hon. Member really fears is unspoken, and I will put his real fear into explicit words. What he and the Government are afraid of is that if the Amendment were carried the Bill would never become operative at all. That is what he means by saying that it would not become operative in this Parliament. I can assure him that the next Parliament would have nothing to do with it. That is exactly what he wishes to avoid, for exactly the same reasons as my right hon. Friend wishes it to happen—for exactly those reasons.

In principle, there are the soundest reasons for waiting. It is not only this Act about which the electorate have had no opportunity of expressing any opinion at all. They have had no opportunity of expressing any opinion about the principal Act, either. The principal Act is the 1957 one. By the principal Act, a charge, a contribution for the National Health Service was imposed for the first time. Before 1957, there was no charge at all——

Mr. A. Evans

No specific charge for the Health Service.

Mr. Silverman

No. There were charges under other social security Acts, and those charges were intended to meet the obligations of the other social security Acts. No doubt, in arranging their finances, the Government used their funds in such ways as they thought advisable, as they were advised to do, and as they secured parliamentary sanction, but, in the beginning, from 1946 until 1957, there was no specific charge for the Health Service at all. That was the conception of my right hon. Friends when they formed the Labour Government. That is what we meant when we said that we were establishing, for the first time in the history of the country, and almost for the first time in the history of the world, a free National Health Service.

We were taunted for it by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. They said that we were deceiving the people in saying that it was free. We did not mean that it was free in that sense. Of course doctors had to be paid. Of course the administrative expenses had to be provided for. Of course the chemicals, drugs, nursing services and all the rest had to be paid for. What we were saying was that this should be regarded as a general national charge payable out of national charges, and not payable out of a specific contribution levied on people who might need the services of the Health Service. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite could never reconcile themselves to that.

After the scheme became law, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite went up and down the country claiming that there had been no better friends of a free National Health Service than the Conservative Party. They showed their support for it, while the Measure went through, by voting solidly and without exception against the Second Reading. They voted on a whole series of Amendments designed to embarrass, cripple and cut down the Service, through a long, difficult and complicated Committee stage. They did the same thing on the Report stage. They fought the Bill tooth and nail, line by line—almost word by word—and they did a most unusual thing for people claiming that they were in general support of the principle, even voting against the Third Reading.

Then they went to the country. They won two General Elections. When we sought to persuade people to vote against them, and not to give them the powers they are now exercising because they would use them in the way they are now using them, they went into paroxysms of rage and synthetic indignation. They said that there was not a word of truth in it. They had no intention, they said, of making any attack upon the Health Service. They had no intention of increasing the charges. All this was a wicked Socialist lie, designed to prevent people from "voting for prosperity". They won.

The principal Act of 1957, which it is now proposed to make even worse, is not merely a thing about which the electorate has had no opportunity of expressing a view. Far more than that, people have expressed their opposition to it, at the invitation of the Conservative Party and those who are now the Conservative Government. They said to the people, "Vote for us because we are not going to do it". When people vote for them on that basis, it is fair to say that, so far from the people having had no opportunity of approving this Measure, they had, years before it was passed, expressed their opinion against it.

Mr. Gower

No, that is not true.

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) says that it is not true. Is it not?

Mr. Gower

Of course not. The hon. Gentleman is not being accurate, to put it in that way. He knows perfectly well that the vote in 1955 for the present Government followed, not preceded, the imposition of charges imposed in 1953.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Gentleman has not been following. He does not even trouble to know what the facts are. I said at the beginning, and nobody challenged me, that the words of the Act are perfectly plain, that a charge was imposed for the first time by the principal Act, namely, the Act of 1957. What does the hon. Gentleman mean by saying that I have not stated the position accurately? Of course I have stated it accurately.

Mr. Gower

Prescription charges were put on in 1953.

Mr. Silverman

We are not talking about prescription charges. The hon. Gentleman has not even read the Act.

Mr. Gower

I have.

Mr. Silverman

Then he has not understood it.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I am sure that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) wishes to be fair to my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower). He will appreciate, as the Committee does, that, in the idiom of these things, what we are discussing today is a contribution. The term "charges" is used, as he suggests, for things like prescriptions and appliances. That is the point that my hon. Friend has in mind.

Mr. Silverman

Yes, but the only thing which the 1957 Act did was to charge a contribution for the first time. What this amending Measure does is to increase that contribution. Before 1957, there was no contribution. The Conservative Party told the electorate that it did not propose to make further charges. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman means that the Conservative Party meant by that that it would not increase the charges but it would, go on to charge a contribution instead, it is a great pity that his party's Election manifesto was not more clearly and honestly drawn. What everybody understood from it was that, first, the Conservative Party would not increase the charges properly so called, and, a fortiori, would not impose new contributory charges, which had never been imposed before.

The hon. Member for Barry has assisted me in establishing my point that the electorate, at the invitation of the Conservative Party, decided in 1955 against this Measure. It decided against the 1957 Measure and, a fortiori, against this Measure. This is a fraud. It is a quite deliberate deceit. It is a betrayal of trust.

Mr. Randall

Without a mandate.

Mr. Silverman

It is more than that. It is an act in direct defiance of the mandate they asked for and obtained. The Minister ought not to smile. When he faces his constituents at the General Election, if he ever does, he will not find that they are much amused by it.

This is part of the Government's general campaign to reduce the purchasing power of ordinary people in any way they can. They do it by raising the charges for babies' milk. They do it by raising the charges for school children's dinners. They do it by raising contributory charges under a whole series of social security Measures. They do it by the Rent Act, and they do it by withdrawing subsidies on food supplies. In every way they do what is their direct intention, as borne out by the Cohen Report. The objective of the Government in this matter is to make it less and less possible for people to have money with which to buy things. That is their remedy for inflation, the only remedy they know. It is exactly what their policy has always been.

It is not as if these extra charges were to supply a special fund out of which the financial burden of the medical services was to be discharged. Nothing of the kind. There is no special fund and there never has been. It is simply and solely what one of my hon. Friends described earlier as a poll tax designed to take money out of the pockets of the poorest so as to relieve the pressure on goods, which is the Government's only remedy for the economic crises in which they find themselves.

How can it be right, in those circumstances, for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to have the opportunity of fixing an appointed day to begin to collect these charges before the people who gave him his power on the pretence that he would not exercise it for these purposes have had the opportunity of considering the new situation? It may well be that the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks that these charges are right in themselves. It may well be that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Government and hon. Members opposite believe that their policy of dealing with our economic crisis is the right one. Certainly, they have always believed it all the time I have known them. They have never had any other from the days of 1931 onwards—and even before that.

It may well be that they would even try to make a case for saying, "We were right to pledge ourselves not to do it in 1955 and we are also right to do it in 1957 and 1958 in spite of these pledges because of the circumstances obtaining". But if the circumstances have changed, then the trustees must go back to the beneficiaries and ask for new authorities. They must not do it in advance. They must not use a power given them for one purpose in order to achieve the exact opposite of that purpose. This is the act of a fraudulent trustee and will continue to be that unless the Government are prepared to accept the Amendment.

I say to the Government, "Go to the people you have deceived and ask them whether they will condone the deceit. Go to the people to whom you lied and ask them whether they will give you power now to change the situation and to do what you promised not to do. But do not use your last few moments of precarious power to exact a further charge from the pockets of people you promised not to rob."

Dr. King

When my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) opened the debate and charged the Government with betraying a selection of promises I was reminded of a poster that appeared in the country to the effect that the Conservative Party fought for the social services. It is a poster, I venture to suggest, that that party will never have the impertinence to put on the hoardings again. Indeed, at that time every Election platform asked the question: whom did the Conservatives fight for the social services?

This is a simple Amendment. I was surprised that the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) suggested that it was a wrecking Amendment. We simply seek to delay the provisions made in the new Bill until after the electorate has had an opportunity of saying whether it approves of what the Government are doing in this and similar Measures. It is true that we might wait in the hope that another place, which is always interested in the welfare of the poor, might interfere and delay the Bill until the country has had an opportunity of declaring its opinions on Government policy, but we do not think that that is likely.

It may be good to increase the poll tax element in the social service charges. Within the last twelve or eighteen months the Government have imposed new poll tax elements in the social insurance and the Health Services. If the Government do it three times, then this addition to the poll tax element is no longer a matter of detail. It is not a matter of adding a penny to 8d. and making it 9d. The increase in the poll tax element is becoming so great that we are having not a quantitative charge, but a qualitative charge. Those of us who believe that poll taxes are bad, and that the country will support us in the view that poll taxes put an unfair burden on the poorest, have a right to say to the Government, "You should not levy a poll tax of this heavy nature without getting a mandate from the country to do so". The country may approve.

The hon. Member for Barry thinks that one of the reasons why the Government won the last Election was because of the prescription charges. If he is so confident that this kind of policy is one that will have the backing of the electorate, let him vote with us for the Amendment. There is no urgency for the money. This mean little Bill provides a mean little sum for a mean Government. The amount involved is less than we handed out in largesse to the richest people at Budget time. I urge the Government to accept the Amendment and to delay this Measure until the people have had a chance of saying whether they believe in the principles of the Government or not.

Mr. Walker-Smith

At least on this occasion I am not in the paradoxical position in which I was on the last Amendment of having to devote most of my speech to seeking to explain to hon. Members opposite the effect and intention of the Amendment which they had seen fit to put upon the Order Paper. The effect of this Amendment, at least, is clear. Having said that, I have exhausted the praise which I can reasonably and conscientiously bestow upon it.

Although its effect is clear, it is unwarranted, ill-conceived, mischievous and altogether undesirable. Nor has it been improved, I am bound in all honesty to say, by the advocacy of some hon. Gentlemen opposite. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has also had a different rôle during the discussion of this Amendment from his rôle in the last one. On the last Amend- ment he did not come into the Committee until nearly the end, but was in no way restrained from making a very long contribution, raising points which most of us thought had already been disposed of. On this occasion he has certainly been here all the time, and he has spoken at great length. However, I must say that the merit and persuasiveness of his argument was in inverse ratio to the length of time taken in expressing it. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I feel that that is the case, and so do my hon. Friends. The hon. Gentleman indulged in a great deal of strong and intemperate language, but it was not persuasive advocacy to those who are looking at the Amendment in an objective, reasonable and detached way.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider that at this moment he is looking at the matter in an objective and detached way? I assure him that I had no hope whatever that my argument would persuade him.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Then the hon. Gentleman is not disappointed. I am looking at the Amendment in the way in which it is the duty of us all to look at it. The House has come to a decision on the principle of the Bill, and here we are concerned with the question whether its implementation should be deferred for a very protracted period. In regard to that matter, the need and justification for this modest increase in the contribution arises from present circumstances and, indeed, from the past and continuing trend of the mounting liability upon the Exchequer. It was put forward on the basis of present justification and present action both in the Ways and Means Resolution and on Second Reading, and the House approved by majorities of 72 and 56 respectively. I say, therefore, that there is no justification for deferring the implementation of the Bill.

Mr. Houghton

If the Bill is so fully justified, and if all the circumstances surrounding it are so plain, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell the Committee what the row in the Cabinet was about?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The hon. Member must exercise his own very considerable ingenuity in connection with this entirely hypothetical question.

I want to deal with the argument behind the Amendment, as I understand it. If it were not for simple administrative and practical reasons—the preparation of the stamps, and so on—the increases would have come into effect upon the date of the coming into operation of the Bill.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne says that it is entirely at discretion when the appointed day will be. In Acts of Parliament it nearly always is, but if the hon. Member wants some comfort I can tell him that there is no intention of delaying the appointed day. Our intention is to bring the scheme into force at or about the beginning of July. The date is not specified in the Bill because, when making rather complex mechanical preparations, it is unwise to tie oneself to a statutory date which is binding in all circumstances.

Mr. Silverman

I was not criticising the Measure for leaving the Government a free and unfettered discretion to fix the appointed day. I agree that that is the usual way in which the matter is dealt with. What I was afraid of was what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has now stated, namely, that he would fix the appointed day too soon. The purpose of the Amendment is to make sure that it is not fixed too soon.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I appreciate that the right hon. Lady's Amendment seeks to defer the appointed day for no less than two-and-a-quarter years. I say that there is a need and justification for the Measure, and that it should be deferred only for the minimum time, which is about three months. That is the point between us.

I have examined the precedents showing how matters of charges within the Health Service have been dealt with in the past, from the point of view of their having been imposed upon an appointed day or having come into force immediately. I wanted to see whether there was a deferment of their coming into operation beyond the date of the next General Election, or not. I looked at the two obvious precedents which took place in the days of the Labour Government. First, there was the power to impose charges for prescriptions and, secondly, the power to impose charges in respect of teeth and spectacles.

In the first case, the power derives from Section 16 of the National Health Service (Amendment) Act, 1949, which went through the House when the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) was Minister of Health. The Section gave power to make regulations imposing charges for prescriptions, and the power was taken straight away, with effect from the coming into operation of the Act, on 16th December, 1949. There was nothing in that Act to defer the implementation of the power until after a General Election or after any interval at all. The power was taken straight away.

In the second example, which concerns the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) more particularly, the power to make regulations imposing charges for teeth and spectacles derives from Section 1 (3) of the National Health Service Act, 1951. There again the power was taken at once, with effect from the coming into operation of the Act, and not from an appointed day; still less after a deferment, and even still less after a deferment beyond a General Election. It was taken from the coming into operation of the Act on 10th May, 1951.

Mr. Marquand

The difference between those examples and this is that on those occasions there was no difference between the two sides of the House.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Whether or not there was a difference between the opposite sides of the House, there were acute differences between hon. Members opposite.

Mr. S. Silverman

As there are in the Cabinet now.

Mr. Walker-Smith

The right hon. Gentleman discovered, to his cost, that when a Member of the Labour Party wants to do the right thing he is very severely embarrassed by the opposition of his colleagues, who wish to restrain him. We all have in mind the circumstances of those days. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reminded the House in vivid terms of some of the more colourful passages in the resignation speech of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

Where is the Chancellor today?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Where is the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale?

Dr. King

The right hon. and learned Member has not answered my hon. Friend's point about the differences between the situation in those days and that which exists now. In that situation the Opposition were wholeheartedly in support of the charges made by the Government, and they would have liked to see more.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I do not recall anybody asking for any further charge than was proposed by the right hon. Gentleman at that time.

Mr. Silverman

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman draw no distinction at all between a Measure passed with the general support of the House—Government and Opposition alike—and a Measure passed in the teeth of the united and fierce opposition of one side of the House, when it is in Committee?

Mr. Walker-Smith

As I explained, and as the hon. Member, with his long experience of Parliament, knows, in dealing with the principle of the Bill we are bound by the decision of the House taken on Second Reading.

On the occasions to which I have referred I have proved that there was no deferment, although in the second case the Parliament concerned was only just over one year old. The charges for teeth and spectacles actually became operative almost immediately after the Bill was passed, on 21st May, 1951.

It has been said that we have no mandate for this charge, and that in our Election manifesto we did not say that we would impose it.

Mr. Silverman

You said the opposite.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I join issue with the hon. Member on that question. Moreover, the 1945 Election manifesto of the Labour Party contained no reference to the fact that they would take power, before another General Election, to impose charges for prescriptions.

Mr. Silverman

We did not then have a National Health Service.

Mr. Walker-Smith

That exactly illustrates the absurdity of the argument. Perhaps the hon. Member will apply his mind to these facts. There was a National Health Service by 1950, but nothing in the Labour Party Election manifesto of 1950 which said that the party would take power to impose charges for teeth and spectacles. The party opposite did that within just over one year of being returned to power. The Amendment is a matter of sheer humbug and hypocrisy on the part of hon. Members opposite.

Dr. Summerskill

I am shocked at the fact that the Minister has completely avoided the argument. He spent most of his time criticising my hon. Friend for an excellent speech, and then decided to waste time dealing with certain procedural points in which the Committee is not very interested. He then proceeded—and we are accustomed to this sort of thing on the part of hon. Members opposite

when they are short of arguments—to there was charge hon. Members on this side of the Committee with something that was done in the past. I accept all that he has said in that respect, but can he equate that with the fact that during the last two years the Government not only imposed a prescription charge but increased contributions, last year and again now Three charges have been imposed in the last two years.

In view of the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has not even been courteous enough to apply himself to the arguments which have been adduced, we must divide the Committee.

Question put, That those words there inserted:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 201. Noes 245.

Division No. 56.] AYES 6.10 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Ledger, R. J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lewis, Arthur
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lindgren, G. S.
Awbery, S. S. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lipton, Marcus
Bacon, Mist Alice Fernyhough, E. Logan, D. G.
Baird, J. Finch, H. J. McCann, J.
Balfour A. Fletcher, Eric MacColl, J. E.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Foot, D. M. MacDermot, Niall
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McGhee, H. G.
Benson, Sir George Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Beswick, Frank George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then) McLeavy, Frank
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Blackburn, F. Greenwood, Anthony Mahon, Simon
Blenkinsop, A. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mainwaring, W. H.
Blyton, W. R. Grey, C. F. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mann, Mrs. Jean
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Bowles, F. G. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mason, Roy
Boyd, T. C. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mellish, R. J.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Messer, Sir F.
Brockway, A. F. Hastings, S. Mikardo, Ian
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Healey, Denis Moody, A. S.
Burke, W. A. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Burton, Miss F. E. Herbison, Miss M. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Holmes, Horace Mort, D. L.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Houghton, Douglas Moss, R.
Carmichael, J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Moyle, A.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mulley, F. W.
Champion, A. J. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Chapman, W. D. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oliver, G. H.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hunter, A. E. Oswald, T.
Clunie, J. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Owen, W. J.
Coldrick, W. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Collins, V. J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Palmer, A. M. F.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Cove, W. G. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pargiter, G. A.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, B. Parker, J.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Paton, John
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St.Pncs, S.) Pearson, A.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Johnson, James (Rugby) Pentland, N.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, Rt. Hon A. Creech (Wakefield) Popplewell, E.
Deer, G. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Prentice, R. E.
Delargy, H. J. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Diamond, John Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire. W.)
Dodds, N. N. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Probert, A. R.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Kenyon, C. Proctor, W. T.
Dye, S. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Randall, H. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. King, Dr. H. M. Rankin, John
Redhead, E. C. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Wheeldon, W. E.
Reeves, J. Sparks, J. A. Wilkins, W. A.
Reid, William Steele, T. Willey, Frederick
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Storehouse, John Williams, David (Neath)
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Stones, W. (Consett) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Ross, William Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Royle, C. Sylvester, G. O. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Short, E. W. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Shurmer, P. L. E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Winterbottom, Richard
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Tomney, F. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Woof, R. E.
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Viant, S. P. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Skeffington, A. M. Watkins, T. E. Zilliacus, K.
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Weitzman, D.
Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Wells, Percy (Faversham) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Sorensen, R. W. West, D. G. Mr. John Taylor and
Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.
Agnew, Sir Peter Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Aitken, W. T. Duncan, Sir James Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Alport, C. J. M. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Elliott, R.W.(N'castle upon Tyne, N.) Joseph, Sir Keith
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot
Arbuthnot, John Errington, Sir Eric Keegan, D.
Armstrong, C. W. Farey-Jones, F. W. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Ashton, H. Fell, A. Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Atkins, H. E. Finlay, Graeme Kimball, M.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr, J. M. Fisher, Nigel Kirk, P. M.
Baldwin, A. E. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Lagden, G. W.
Balniel, Lord Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Barber, Anthony Freeth, Denzil Leather, E. H. C.
Barlow, Sir John Gammans, Lady Leavey, J. A.
Barter, John Garner-Evans, E. H. Leburn, W. G.
Baxter, Sir Beverley George, J. C. (Pollok) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Beamish, Col. Tufton Glover, D. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Godber, J. B. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Good hart, Philip Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Gower, H. R. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Graham, Sir Fergus Llewellyn, D. T.
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Grant, W. (Woodside) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Bingham, R. M. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Longden, Gilbert
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Green, A. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Bishop, F. P. Grimond, J. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Black, C. W. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Body, R. F. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. McAdden, S. J.
Boothby, Sir Robert Gurden, Harold Macdonald, Sir Peter
Bossom, Sir Alfred Hall, John (Wycombe) McKibbin, A. J.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Boyle, Sir Edward Harris, Reader (Heston) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Brooman-White, R. C. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maddan, Martin
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hay, John Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Bryan, P. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hon. Sir R,
Butcher, Sir Herbert Henderson, John (Cathcart) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Campbell, Sir David Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Marlowe, A. A. H.
Cary, Sir Robert Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Channon, Sir Henry Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Marshall, Douglas
Cole, Norman Hill, Mrs E. (Wythenshawe) Mathew, R.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Maude, Angus
Cooke, Robert C. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Mawby, R. L.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hirst, Geoffrey Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Medlicott, Sir Frank
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hornby, R. P. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Horobin, Sir Ian Moore, Sir Thomas
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Nabarro, G. D. N.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Nairn, D. L. S.
Currie, G. B. H. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Neave, Airey
Davidson, Viscountess Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hulbert, Sir Norman Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hurd, A. R. Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Deedes, W. F. Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.) Nugent, G. R. H.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Oakshott, H. D.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Iremonger, T. L. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)
Doughty, C. J. A. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Osborne, C.
Drayton, G. B. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Page, R. G.
du Cann, E. D. L. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Partridge, E. Sharples, R. C. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Peel, W.J. Shepherd, William Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Peyton, J. W. W. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Vane, W. M. F.
Pike, Miss Mervyn Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Vickers, Miss Joan
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Spearman, Sir Alexander Wade, D. W.
Pitt, Miss E. M. Speir, R. M. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Pott, H. P. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Powell, J. Enoch Stevens, Geoffrey Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Price, David (Eastleigh) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Wall, Patrick
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Ramsden, J. E. Storey, S. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Rawlinson, Peter Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Redmayne, M, Studholme, Sir Henry Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Rees-Davies, W. R. Summers, Sir Spencer Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Remnant, Hon. P. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Ridsdale, J. E. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wills, C. (Bridgwater)
Rippon, A. G. F. Teeling, W. Wood, Hon. R.
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Temple, John M. Woollam, John Victor
Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Roper, Sir Harold Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R.(Croydon, S.) Mr. Hughes-Young and
Scott-Miller. Cmdr. R. Thorn-on-Kemsley, Sir Colin Mr. Gibson-Watt.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Blenkinsop

On a point of order. I want to make a protest or, behalf of hon. Members who are serving on Standing Committees at present sitting upstairs, and who, in effect, are not being allowed by the Government to take part in the debate in this Chamber on this Clause. This Clause deals with vital matters, but we are being prevented from dealing with them now because

Standing Committees are now sitting upstairs. I would ask you, Sir Gordon, whether some arrangements could be made whereby the large number of hon. Members who are in Standing Committees can be acquainted with the progress of proceedings in this Committee.

The Deputy-Chairman

I cannot take cognisance of that matter.

Question put:

The Committee divided: Ayes 243, Noes 204.

Division No. 57.] AYES 6.20 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Channon, Sir Henry Goodhart, Philip
Aitken, W. T. Cole, Norman Gower, H. R.
Alport, C. J. M. Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Graham, Sir Fergus
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Cooke, Robert Grant, W. (Woodside)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Cooper-Key, E. M. Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.(Nantwich)
Arbuthnot, John Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Green, A.
Armstrong, C. W. Corfield, Capt. F. V. Grimond, J.
Ashton, H. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Atkins, H. E. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Gurden, Harold.
Baldwin, A. E. Crowder, Petre (Rulslip—Northwood) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Balniel, Lord Currie, G. B. H. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Barber, Anthony Davidson, Viscountess Harris, Reader (Heston)
Barlow, Sir John Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)
Barter, John D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Deedes, W. F. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Digby, Simon Wingfield Hay, John
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Doughty, C. J. A. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Drayson, G. B. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. du Cann, E. D. L. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Bingham, R. M. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Bishop, F. P. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Black, C. W. Elliott, R. W.(N'castle upon Tyne, N) Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Body, R. F. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hirst, Geoffrey
Boothby, Sir Robert Errington, Sir Eric Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)
Bossom, Sir Alfred Farey-Jones, F. W. Hornby, R. P.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Fell, A. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Boyle, Sir Edward Finlay, Graeme Horobin, Sir Ian
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Fisher, Nigel Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Brooman-White, R. C. Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craighton) Freeth, Denzil Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J-
Bryan, P. Gammans, Dame Ann Muriel Hulbert, Sir Norman
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Garner-Evans, E. H. Hurd, A. R.
Butcher, Sir Herbert George, J. C. (Pollok) Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)
Campbell, Sir David Glover, D. Hyde, Montgomery
Cary, Sir Robert Godber, J. B. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry
Iremonger, T. L. Mathew, R. Shepherd, William
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Maude, Angus Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Mawby, R. L. Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Medllcott, Sir Frank Speir, R. M.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Stevens, Geoffrey
Joseph, Sir Keith Moore, Sir Thomas Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Nabarro, G. D. N. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Keegan, D. Nairn, D. L. S. Storey, S.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Neave, Airey Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham) Studholme, Sir Henry
Kimball, M. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Summers, Sir Spencer
Kirk, P. M. Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Lagden, G. W. Nugent, G. R. H. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Oakshott, H. D. Teeling, W.
Leather, E. H. C. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare) Temple, John M.
Leavey, J. A. Osborne, C. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Leburn, W. C. Page, R. G. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R.(Croydon, S.)
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Partridge, E. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Peel, W. J. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Peyton, J. W. W. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Linstead, Sir H. N. Pike, Miss Mervyn Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Llewellyn, D. T. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Vane, W. M. F.
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Pitt, Miss E. M. Vickers, Miss Joan
Longden, Gilbert Pott, H. P. Wade, D. W.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Powell, J. Enoch Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Price, David (Eastleigh) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
McAdden, S. J. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Macdonald, Sir Peter Ramsden, J. E. Wall, Patrick
McKibbin, A. J, Rawlinson, Peter Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Redmayne, M. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Rees-Davies, W. R. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Remnant, Hon. P. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Maddan, Martin Ridsdale, J. E. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horncastle) Rippon, A. G. F. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Wood, Hon. R.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Roper, Sir Harold Woollam, John Victor
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E. Scott-Miller, Cmdr, R. Mr. Hughes-Young
Marshall, Douglas Sharples, R. C. and Mr. Gibson-Watt.
Ainsley, J. W. Coldrick, W. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Collins, V. J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury) Hastings, S.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hayman, F. H.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Cove, W. G. Healey, Denis
Awbery, S. S. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)
Bacon, Miss Alice Cullen, Mrs. A. Herbison, Miss M.
Baird, J. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Holmes, Horace
Balfour, A. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Houghton, Douglas
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, Harold (Leek) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Deer, G. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Benson, Sir George Delargy, H. J. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Beswick, Frank Diamond, John Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Dodds, N. N. Hunter, A. E.
Blackburn, F. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Blenkinsop, A. Dye, S. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Blyton, W. R. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Boardman, H. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Janner, B.
Bowles, F. G. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
Boyd, T. C. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St.Pncs,S.)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Fernyhough, E. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Brookway, A. F. Finch, H. J. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Fletcher, Eric Jones, David (The Hartlepools)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Foot, D. M. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Burke, W. A. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Burton, Miss F. E. George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Kenyon, C.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Greenwood, Anthony Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Carmichael, J. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. King, Dr. H. M.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Grey, C. F. Ledger, R, J.
Champion, A. J. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Chapman, W. D. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Lewis, Arthur
Chetwynd, G. R. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Lindgren, G. S.
Clunie, J. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Lipton, Marcus
Logan, D. G. Parker, J. Stonehouse, John
McCann, J. Paton, John Stones, W. (Consett)
MacColl, J. E. Pearson, A. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
MacDermot, Niall Pentland, N. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
McGhee, H. G. Popplewell, E. Sylvester, G. O.
McKay, John (Wallsend) Prentice, R. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
McLeavy, Frank Price, j. T. (Westhoughton) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Mahon, Simon Probert, A. R. Tomney, F.
Mainwaring, W. H. Proctor, W. T. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Randall, H. E. Viant, S. P.
Mann, Mrs. Jean Rankin, John Watkins, T. E.
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Redhead, E. C. Weitzman, D.
Mason, Roy Reeves, J. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Mellish, R. J. Reid, William West, D. G.
Messer, Sir F. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wheeldon, W. E.
Mikardo, Ian Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wilkins, W. A.
Mitchison, G. R. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Willey, Frederick
Moody, A. S. Ross, William Williams, David (Neath)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, w.) Royle, C. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm.S.) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Mort, D. L. Short, E. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Moss, R. Shurmer, P. L. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Moyle, A. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Mulley, F. W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Winterbottom, Richard
Oliver, G. H. Skeffington, A. M. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Oswald, T. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Woof, R. E.
Owen, W. J. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Sorensen, R. W. Zilliacus, K.
Palmer, A. M. F. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Sparks, J. A. Mr. John Taylor and
Pargiter, G. A. Steele, T. Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.